Tuna Casserole

My mom made this all the time when I was growing up, because it was quick and inexpensive. She used canned soups, though, and I don’t. This comes pretty close to that canned soup flavor. My kids, of course, never liked tuna casserole, unless I added cheese. For some reason, they’d eat anything with cheese. Anything accept macaroni and cheese, that is. I know. Weird. I’ve got the only kids in the world who don’t like mac and cheese.

Ingredients

1 pound elbow or shell pasta 2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter 1 cup sour cream
1 small onion, finely diced 1 can mushroom stems and pieces, chopped (see note)
3 tablespoons flour 3 cans tuna
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (see note) 1/2 cup cheese (optional) of choice (cheddar or velveeta-style)
pepper to taste 2 cups frozen peas cooked according to package directions

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, bouillon and pepper, stirring till well combined. Add the milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in sour cream, mushrooms and tuna, cooking just till heated through. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, if desired.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it and return it to the pot. Stir together the pasta, sauce and peas. Serve as is, or pour it into a casserole pan, sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs, and bake till browned and bubbly.

Notes: You can cook the peas just by adding them to pasta water when the noodles are nearly done.  Also, if you don’t have bouillon on hand, or don’t like to use it, add a little garlic powder and salt to taste.  I seldom buy canned mushrooms anymore, since I’ve discovered the pleasure of the fresh kind.  You can just add sliced mushrooms to the onions when they are sufficiently softened and saute till nicely browned.